Rebuilding a future: Survivors of the Lilac Fire face a new year of challenges and hope

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — For most of us, a new year brings the promise of a fresh start. That’s especially true for survivors of the Lilac fire.

At the Rancho Monserate community in Fallbrook, bulldozers and debris disposal crews were hard at work.

Because water and power have only recently been restored, residents of the age 55-plus community were not able to come back to the Fallbrook community until the last few days.

Debbie Sorensen, who lost her manufactured home in the inferno said she made a choice to focus on the positive.

She said she has been touched by the many volunteers who have stepped forward to help.

“The choice was to make lemonade out of lemons. We have to move on and it’s like starting anew. So while I’m watching the rest of my home being toted off, it’s like starting brand new,” Sorensen said.

Another resident, Joanne Masar, whose home was damaged but still standing, said that neighbors are coming to the aid of neighbors.

“You just give them a hug if they need it. Cry with them if they need it. Just be there and say, ‘it’ll be okay,’ ” Masar said.

She voiced her optimism about the next year and the possibilities for her neighbors. “‘Cause there’s a future for those guys,” she said, “and it’s just around the corner.”

Related Articles